TREEPAC-what we did 2013-2014
CANDIDATES–This last year sent questionnaires to the City of Seattle election candidates. We posted their answers on the TreePAC website. We made our first set of donations to candidates in Seattle, Bellevue and Washington State.
WEBSITE- We updated the TreePAC website and moved the TAKE ACTION easy-email-writer button from PlantAmnesty to TreePAC. Through TAKE ACTION 312 emails were sent to Seattle City Council and 22 to King County Council.
REPRESENTATION—TreePACers attended meetings with the Urban Forest Commission, the West Seattle Green Spaces Coalition, FOSUF (Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest), Seattle City Light, the City Council Seattle Energy Committee, and the King Conservation District.
PROJECTS–TreePAC voted to engage in the SOS (Save Our Substations) project. The project’s purpose is to preserve 35 vacant, Seattle City Light surplus substation properties as open space, rather than selling them to developers. Since we intervened, Seattle City Light has stopped clear cutting the properties to clean up contaminated soil. Instead they are trying the ‘airspade’ technique that removes the soil from around the trees’ roots thus preserving them. We also distributed 500 flyers to neighbors of the substations. Councilmember Rasmussen has declared that he is interested in finding ways to preserve the sites as green spaces.
TreePAC is also working with FOSUF to create a model Seattle Tree Ordinance and update Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan to include a strong Urban Forestry Component.
GRANTS—Through our sister organization, PlantAmnesty, grants were submitted to Groundswell Northwest (Save Our Substation, $500, approved) and the King Conservation District (Urban Forestry Game Changers, $19,000 pending).
ACCESS–TreePAC met with Nick Licata and Kshama Sawant representative. They both wrote a letter of support for the Urban Forestry Game Changers grant.
DONATIONS—because of the election donations, we’re broke. Please renew by sending $25 check to TreePAC 906 NW 87th Street, Seattle WA 98117. It’s how our work gets done.
Seattle City Tree Ordinance
TreePAC has been participating in a study group led by Steve Zemke of Friends of the Urban Forest created to get a good Urban Forest Protection Ordinance passed in Seattle. See below.
The group has been having a series of discussions about what should be in an ordinance as well as looking at what other cities are doing. A good source of information on other tree ordinances and guidelines for drafting a tree ordinance can be found at the website www.friends.urbanforests.org.
Here are some of the issues we felt needed to be in a new ordinance. We welcome your feedback on issues important to you and that you think should be included. Please look over the list and tell us what you think. Thanks.
1. Require permits to remove trees on both public and private property so we can keep better track of tree loss and gain. Require 2 week posting of tree removals as SDOT currently does.
2. An absolute minimal condition is no net loss of trees in any year as stated in Seattle’s Comprehensive Plan.
3. To maintain no net loss of trees requires that tree replacement be required for all trees removed including during property development. For development this would be an impact fee to compensate for the removal of existing canopy.
4. Fees collected for tree replacement that can not be done on site and fines for violating city tree ordinances would go into a city dedicated tree replacement fund that would pay for planting and maintaining trees elsewhere in the city. Donations and grants would be accepted to also plant more trees, acquire land, easements or set up land trusts to protect trees.
5. Prior to development, a canopy assessment would be done on any proposed development to detail existing trees, their species and size so that equivalent replacement can occur. This would be on all trees over 6 inches dbh.
6. To facilitate city wide coordination, oversight responsibility for our urban forest and trees should be consolidated in one city department that has a priority of protecting trees and not a conflict of interest.
7. Arborists and other cutting trees down would register with the city for more accountability and compliance with a tree ordinance
8. incentives and public education would be part of the city effort to increase tree canopy coverage.
9. Planting of more native tree species and less exotics would help preserve native vegetation and wildlife.
10. Extra protection should be given to tree groves and exceptional trees.
This is by no means a complete list of concerns but it is an attempt to prioritize the main points. Your feedback is appreciated if you think there are other priorities or if you have specific concerns. You can send your comments to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair – Friends of Seattle’s Urban Forest